2020 has been a unique year, to say the least. From a pandemic to wildfires, economic devastation, and political turmoil, the past twelve months have been filled with more than their fair share of challenges.
As organizations look ahead to 2021, the future remains anything but clear. Nevertheless, there are many improvements that companies can focus on in the months ahead. Here are several areas of business that you can optimize to move your company in a positive direction heading into the new year.
1. Consider Your Sourcing
The last year wreaked havoc on global supply chains. Wildly fluctuating supply and demand brought on by the pandemic and economic woes left shipments spotty and prices in flux.
If you want to reset the tone heading into 2021, begin by assessing how your company is sourcing its business essentials. Basic business products and services may be temporarily unavailable, suppliers may have gone out of business, and prices have very likely changed.
Take the time to comb over your office supplies. Also, consider group purchasing to help you gain access to more business essentials at discount prices.
2. Continue to Enable Remote Work
Chances are you incorporated remote work into your business model in some form or another over the past year. You may have been building on an existing remote-friendly infrastructure or setting one up from scratch. Regardless, now is hardly the time to backtrack on investing in your organization’s virtual workspace.
With so much uncertainty still ahead, one of the most important areas to focus on in 2021 is your remote work capabilities. A few recommendations to optimize your remote work setup include:
- Establishing clear remote work guidelines and resources for your employees to follow.
- Creating a code of ethics and standards for both inward- and outward-facing remote work interactions.
- Fine-tuning your workflow platforms for maximum effectiveness and usability.
- Demonstrating how to thrive in a remote work environment through leading by example.
By continuing to refine your remote work setting, you can improve your team’s productivity and efficiency going forward.
3. Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Whatever the future may bring, the pandemic and ever-evolving technology are enough on their own to ensure that the days ahead are unpredictable at best. That means both unforeseen challenges and opportunities will likely arise in the coming months.
If you want your team to be ready to react to the former and take advantage of the latter, encourage a growth mindset within your company culture. Don’t let your team become complacent in their current work environment. Instead, foster a growth-oriented mindset that focuses on:
- Hard work and dedication.
- Continual learning.
- Perpetual development.
By cultivating a growth mindset, you set your team up for sustained success no matter what the future may bring.
4. Bolster Human Resources
Human resources was already an evolving field of business before the pandemic thrust it into the spotlight. Automation and information had steadily expanded HR’s traditional role in the workplace. This gradually ballooned the department’s responsibilities to include everything from onboarding and offboarding to managing employee data, boosting company morale, and at times even overseeing interdepartmental communication.
With so much change taking place, it’s wise to equip your HR reps with the tools that they need to properly do their job well. Consider setting up an HRIS (human resources information system). Give your personnel access to the best communication tools. Whatever form it takes, review your HR team’s current condition and confirm that they’re ready to shepherd your organization through the upcoming year.
5. Steer Into E-Commerce and Online Marketing
Much like remote work, many businesses have dramatically increased their online presence over the course of 2020. It’s a trend that shouldn’t stop heading into 2021. A quality e-commerce website and effective online marketing should remain front and center in your sales and marketing strategies. This should include things like:
- Optimizing your website’s user experience.
- Utilizing social media accounts, email, and onsite chats to provide communication channels for your customers to engage with your company.
- Investing in search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing.
- Working with influencers to expand brand awareness and customer loyalty.
As you invest in your online presence, remember that you’re expanding your footprint in the marketplace of the future, pandemic or not.
6. Create Contingency Plans
Business contingency plans are common. Chances are you had one before the pandemic started. However, if you haven’t revisited your contingency plan in 2020, you should do so as soon as possible.
Factor in new, post-COVID considerations, such as maintaining remote work, adhering to social distancing and sanitation procedures, investing in online marketing efforts, and building a resilient supply chain. By updating your disaster preparedness plan, you can lead your business into the future with the confidence that you’re as prepared as possible.
There are numerous ways that you can optimize your business for the new year. Some of these are smaller activities, like sourcing business supplies and updating contingency plans. Others are company-wide initiatives that affect things like remote work or cultivating a growth mindset. By putting in the effort to address all of these concerns now, you position your organization not just to survive but to thrive in 2021 and beyond.